Whether you’re a novice camper or you’ve been taking off into the woods for decades, a camping checklist can help make sure you’re prepared for the adventure ahead. When you’re out in nature you can’t rely on Siri or Google to help. If you plan ahead of time, and commit to being a little flexible, you can have an amazing camping trip from start to finish.
Make a Checklist
Even if you’re only gone for a night or two, you still need to pack for contingencies. Having a checklist for camping gear, food and supplies can ease any worry you have that you might leave something essential, like s’mores, behind. Speaking of toasted marshmallows, it’s important to know ahead of time if you will you be cooking with a campfire, on a grill or packing MREs. When you know you’ll cook while camping, you’llbe able to plan your meals ahead of time.
Meal prep isn’t the only essential cooking item for your checklist. When planning meals, consider how you can avoid wildfires on your camping trip. Wildfires are easy to start and difficult to extinguish. If you plan on cooking with an open fire, you’ll need to bring along a few effective methods to put it out. Sand, dirt or water works well, and always be mindful-- never walk away from a lit campfire or leave a stove or lantern while it’s still hot.
Even in the heat of the summer, the remoteness of nature can lead to some unpredictable weather. You might have cool, dewy mornings, high temperatures in the afternoons and crisp starry nights over a bright campfire. You’ll have to be flexible, and that starts with layers of clothing. Temperature isn’t your only weather fluctuation. A good base layer can protect you from cold, but you’ll want to pack rain and wind gear, too. Pack items you can mix and match so you don’t have to waste too much space on clothes. And don’t forget the shoes -- car camping and backpacking both require the right kind of comfortable, stable hiking boots.
Pick a Good Spot
Picking a spot ahead of time doesn’t mean you have to be inflexible about where you pitch your tent. It means you have a specific idea of where you’re going and what you’re doing, but you can be open to picking out a spot that really calls to you. Some people like to be near water, while others enjoy being in the trees. You’ll want flat ground with few rocks and roots so you can sleep comfortably in your tent. Sometimes you’ll find spots that others have deemed worthy. Remnants of fire pits, open clearings and logs moved into rings are all signs that this spot is a good place to post-up.
Most campers enjoy taking long hikes while they’re in the great outdoors. That means safety needs to be a priority. You’ll need to keep a first aid kit on you and take plenty of food and water. Don’t attempt to drink from rivers or lakes; that’s why it’s important you bring plenty with you. And an extra pair of socks if they fit in your pack isn’t a bad idea, either. Take a map and be sure you know where you’re going. Getting lost in the woods is no one’s idea of a good camping trip. Be sure you have a map and you know the kinds of animals that you could encounter and how they might react if you come across them on a hike. It’s best to not hike alone, so take a buddy with you when you go.
Camping is a great way to unwind and let go of the craziness of our daily lives. But a good camping trip can go south if you’re not prepared. There are a lot of beautiful places to make your home away from home. Whether you’re parking a car, unrolling a sleeping bag or hanging a hammock, you can make sure the great outdoors will always suit you.
Author: Jamie Strand (SciCamps.org)
Thrifter Sisters Flea Market
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